The Government has moved to expand its bugdet for subsidised fertilisers to boost food production in the country.
In the Supplementary Appropriation (No 3) Bill that was assented to by President William Ruto at State House on Thursday, Sh8.25 Billion has been added to the purchase of fertilisers.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi in August said a 50kg bag of fertilizer would retail at Sh2,500 instead of the previous price point of Sh3,500, thus easing their financial burden and creating an ideal environment for increased agricultural production. This went further down from a price of Sh6,500.
Price reductions are part of an ambitious government initiative designed to promote sustainable agriculture in Kenya.
To tame losses and ensure stability of maize prices in the country, Sh2.1 Billion has been apportioned to the post-harvest management.
This will entail the acquisition of dryers, bulk storage facilities and purchase of excess maize from farmers to cushion them against price fluctuations.
The Government said it will buy the produce from farmers at Sh4,000 per 90-kilogramme bag.
Further, an additional Sh1.7 billion has been set aside for the ongoing sugar reforms, including the payment of farmers’ arrears and the improvement of sucrose levels.
To enhance coffee production in the country, the Government has allocated Sh4 billion for the sector’s revitalisation.
Majority Leader Kimani Ichungw’ah noted that Sh400 million has also been made available to New KCC for mopping up excess milk during this rainy season.
“This will ensure that our farmers do not suffer from losses occasioned by increased supplies of milk in the market,” he said.
CS Linturi in October said the total fertilizer consumption by farmers is estimated to be over 95,000 metric tons, and two ships had been secured to meet this demand. One of the ships had already arrived, and the other is expected November.
Linturi said timely fertilizer application is important, particularly with the onset of the El Ni no rains. He urged farmers to collect their fertilizer promptly to maximize its impact on production and take advantage of the government’s subsidy program to boost production.
“This is timely as the rains have just set in, and the application of fertilizer at the right time has a serious bearing on production. We are pleading with the farmers to double their efforts and pick up the fertilizers on time so that we can boost our production this year” said Linturi.